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The Most Amazing Red Velvet Cake recipe is moist, fluffy, and has the perfect balance between acidity and chocolate. Top it off with cream cheese frosting for the perfect Red Velvet Cake you’ve been dreaming of!

3 layer Red Velvet Cake with cream cheese frosting

Readers have been requesting The Most Amazing Red Velvet Cake for years.We’ve adapted our recipe for The Most Amazing Chocolate cake to bring you the perfect red velvet cake we know you will love, just as you’ve loved the original chocolate version. It’s not simply a chocolate or a white cake dyed red. It has added acidity to give it a flavor like no other.

Many people wonder, is red velvet cake really just a chocolate cake? While it certainly has a chocolate flavor and cocoa powder as a main ingredient, a red velvet cake is not a chocolate cake. It has far less cocoa powder in it than a traditional chocolate cake recipe.

  • What is the difference between chocolate and red velvet cake?

    This red velvet cake is based off of the recipe for The Most Amazing Chocolate Cake so there are some similarities, but there are also several key differences that gives Red Velvet Cake its unique flavor and texture. Red velvet cake has less cocoa powder added to it so the chocolate flavor is much more mild. Both our chocolate cake and red velvet cake use buttermilk, but buttermilk is a required ingredient for red velvet cake.  It also has vinegar and red food coloring added to it to add acidity and the classic red coloring.

  • What does red velvet cake taste like?

    Red velvet cake has an acidic taste that comes from the use of buttermilk and vinegar as well as the cream cheese in the frosting. The acidity is balanced out by the sweetness of the cake itself. It also has cocoa powder added to it for a mild chocolate flavoring.

  • How can I scale this recipe for difference sizes of pans?

    The distinct flavors of red velvet cake come from the buttermilk, vinegar, cocoa powder, and cream cheese frosting. Some red velvet cake recipes use only a tablespoon or two of cocoa powder, giving virtually no chocolate flavor. This leads some people to think that red velvet cake is simply a white cake dyed red. A true red velvet cake is a distinct chocolate flavor in addition to a slight acidic flavor.

Cake Conversion Guide
  • What gives red velvet cake its flavor?

    The distinct flavors of red velvet cake come from the buttermilk, vinegar, cocoa powder, and cream cheese frosting. Some red velvet cake recipes use only a tablespoon or two of cocoa powder, giving virtually no chocolate flavor. This leads some people to think that red velvet cake is simply a white cake dyed red. A true red velvet cake is a distinct chocolate flavor in addition to a slight acidic flavor.

  • What kind of frosting do you use for red velvet cake?

    Red velvet cake is traditionally made with cream cheese frosting or Ermine frosting

  • Is there a substitute for buttermilk?

    Buttermilk is a key component in this cake recipe. If you don’t have access to buttermilk, please use a buttermilk substitute. There are lots of options and you are sure to find one that you can make work HERE in our article on buttermilk substitutes.

  • What kind of food coloring should I use?

    This recipe was made and tested using red liquid food coloring. You can also use gel food coloring or a natural red food coloring made from beets. You can find a wide variety of natural food dyes on Amazon.

Red Velvet Cake with one slice removed

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in some of our other amazing cake recipes:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

3 layer red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting
The Most Amazing Red Velvet Cake recipe is moist, fluffy, and has the perfect balance between acidity and chocolate. Top it off with cream cheese frosting for the perfect Red Velvet Cake you've been dreaming of!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Ingredients

Cake:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring

Frosting:

  • 16 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 9-inch cake rounds. Dust with flour and tap out the excess.
  • Mix together flour, sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a stand mixer using a low speed until combined.
  • Add eggs, buttermilk, warm water, oil, vanilla, vinegar, and food coloring. Beat on a medium speed until smooth. This should take just a couple of minutes.
  • Divide batter among the three prepared pans.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes until the cake meets the toothpick test (stick a toothpick in and it comes out clean).
  • Cool on wire racks for 15 minutes and then turn out the cakes onto the racks and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  • Make the frosting. In a large bowl, beat together butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer for best results. Add in vanilla extract. Beat until combined. Beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time until frosting is smooth.
  • Assemble and frost the completely cooled cake.
Notes
For a brighter red color, reduce the cocoa powder to 1/4 cup. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 657kcal | Carbohydrates: 93g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 658mg | Potassium: 191mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 68g | Vitamin A: 830IU | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 1.9mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Red Velvet Cake

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Shea Hogan

4 stars
Great cake. The measurements for liquids in metric form say grams (g) instead of mililiters (ml). I also found that the batter was very wet when I added in the buttermilk so I had to skip adding the warm water. Is this meant to be the case? Overall it’s a good cake, great sponge, I used 2 types of icing and I found that the Ermine worked better with it. It is now going into a recipe book for my teacher for after Covid-19/Coronavirus 2. Thank you for this great recipe.

Sarah

5 stars
Iv been looking for red velvet recipes( that tastes closest to the one we get from Metro Canada) since a year and finally came across this one.
This red velvet rocks😋
I made this cake following the exact recipe…
It tastes perfect 👌🏼
But I have a question!
Why my frosting was a bit runny?and it doesn’t have that crispy cream texture that we feel while eating the one from Metro.?

Ningy Ntombela

5 stars
I baked red velvet for the first time using this recipe. The cake was divine????????????????
Thank you.

Amanda

4 stars
This is a great cake. Everyone agreed there needs to be more frosting…there’s a ton of cake!

I did cut the sugar in the frosting by approx a cup…as it was getting sweeter, I missed the tang from the cream cheese. Also, I couldn’t get the cake to turn red with that much cocoa powder. Next time I plan on cutting the cocoa by half…both for the taste and the color. It felt more like a chocolate cake, not a red velvet at a 1/2 cup of cocoa.

Electra

Solid cake recipe! <3 Moist, tangy, great structure! I used Ghirardelli cocoa powder and Americolor coloring. Tip: color the cake MUCH brighter and more 'red' than you think is necessary. My batter was fire engine red and once out of the oven it was classic red velvet color! I was able to halve the recipe easily and placed it in a greased lined 9×13. Cut into circles for layered cakes in jars. Ended up rising to the perfect height! Little to no dome. My only regret is not sifting my dry ingredients. I wish i did as there were some… Read more »

Alison

This cake is great! The only alteration I made was to add 1 1/4 cup strong hot coffee, instant expresso works, instead of warm water. The coffee enhances the flavor of the chocolate giving it that extra bit!

Mia

5 stars
So delicious!! It tasted even better the second day. I ended up needing a lot more powdered sugar to thicken the frosting.

Sera Kasamale

Oh this red velvet cake recipe is just so woow! My family really enjoyed it amidst lockdown holidays. Thanx for sharing it!

Haritha

5 stars
I’m definitely going to try it out… I just love the red velvet cake and nothing can match the taste of it

Justin Reyes

5 stars
Never made a red velvet cake before. Used this recipe and it was a instant hit with my family!! Loved it!!

Nauriin

5 stars
I tried ur recipe today… n it was my 2nd attempt to cake baking… 1st wasnt satisfactory, but this turned out to b great… the sponge was very soft n moist… loved ur recipe … thanku for sharing ur baking tips n secrets with us… good job…

Patricia Shifflett

I was so proud of how this cake looked when it was complete and its taste was simply delicious! I highly recommend it for both its look and taste!!

Cecile

4 stars
At first I thought this recipe is going to be a disaster. The batter was super runny and the color was brown. In the end it baked perfectly and it tastes great. I will not do the 1/2 cup cocoa powder, i’d rather follow the tip of only using a 1/4 cup. The taste of cocoa overpowered it a bit for me. The batter makes exactly 36 cupcakes and I baked them for 20 minutes. The icing is just enough for all 36 cupcakes so there was no waste which is great.

JoAnna

This red velvet recipe will be my first shot at making a red velvet cake! I will be making it for my mom for Mother’s Day this weekend! I do have to say I have tried your chocolate cake recipe in your vanilla cake recipe and both of them were ridiculously amazing and such a hit! Your recipes are spot on, amazing!

dettie

5 stars
I love the taste of the cake!!!?? it lasts more than a week and it’s still very delicious.. thank you so much for sharing this. Until now I’m still learning with the color..i couldn’t get the right color of my cake..?

Electra

Hey Dettie! Im obsessed with this cake too it’s soo good!! I’ve had issues with getting red velvet cakes the right color too! It can be so annoying having a delicious cake that’s not at all visually appealing :/ The final color of the cake truly depends on the type/brand of cocoa powder used as well as the brand of food coloring. I just made this cake recipe and the color came out perfect! I used Ghirardelli cocoa powder and Americolor Super Red. I’ve found that coloring the batter far more red than you ‘think is good’ helps too! Maybe… Read more »

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